5 Things to Bring When You Go Tile Shopping

This was originally going to be a post about pool tile, but apparently I live in a rainforest now because I haven’t seen the sun in a few days and talking about pools just made me sad.

So we’ll talk about shopping instead, because that always perks me up.

If you are beginning a project that requires the use of tile (or that you’d like to add tile to because you have excellent taste and know that tile rocks), your life will be much easier if you bring a few things with you to the tile store.

If the following are not availabile to you, don’t worry, because a good sales person will still be able to help you without them. However, it is much harder to picture the final result without these:

1) A sample of your counter (only if you’ve pre-determined that this is your first priority). If you’re still shopping for counters, but you have an idea of what you want, try to bring in samples of your ideas. Anything tangible helps. If you’re tiling an area that has no counter, obviously forget this one.

click image for original source

2) A swatch of your wall paint color. I know this isn’t always readily available, especially if you’re renovating a pre-existing space. If that’s the case, no worries. But if you still have that swatch available, it’s extremely helpful!

3) A sample of your cabinetry. The larger the better, but even a 2″x2″ square in the finish you’ve chosen is helpful. We’re looking for the style of the cabinets and the color, so if you can’t bring in the physical piece, a good quality photo will do the trick as well. But if you have a very unique color to your cabinetry, it’s really important to at least bring in something that shows the color accurately.

source: Beautiful Kitchens & Baths, Summer 2011

4) A sample of your flooring, if applicable. If you’re shopping for floor tile, this isn’t going to help anything. But for all other projects, a floor sample is very helpful. With this, we’re looking for color and richness of the wood, laminate, tile, or whatever else you’ve used for your flooring. If you have no flooring, you can kill two birds with one stone and shop for floor tile at the same time!

5) A photograph of the existing space. With the crazy amount of digital technology readily available these days, there’s really no reason NOT to have photos of the space being renovated. Even if you know it will look completely different when all is said and done, the visuals are very helpful for space-planning and visualization.

If this is a new construction, you are excused. A photo of an empty lot won’t do much good.

Ann Sacks - Abyssinian Dimensional Tile

While this may seem like a lot of overkill, let me assure you: there are shades in colors that the trained eye picks up that others may not. When shopping for tile, if you want it to coordinate with everything else you’ve chosen, the only way to guarantee that the tones of the colors are going to work together is to actually physically see them together.

It also works to your benefit to lug all your merch in because most workers in tile showrooms are trained in design. However, it’s difficult to give good design advice without all of the pieces of the puzzle. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of free advice from a seasoned expert?

And if you’d like free advice from a seasoned tile expert right now, please feel free to email your questions to tiletramp@gmail.com!

*featured image is by Heath Ceramics

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  1. […] (the rest of the house by night…that makes me sound like a superhero!). But as I’ve previously explained, it’s very difficult to pick out tile without a counter sample (if you chose your counter […]



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